By Phil Anastasia
Eli Cain was on the foul line on Friday night.
That's when the magnitude of the moment registered with the Medford Tech junior.
"This is what I dream about," Cain said he told himself as he listened to the raucous fans from Middle Township threaten to raise the roof in the Panthers' gymnasium.
The 6-foot-5 Cain blocked out the noise, made his foul shot and led Medford Tech to a 53-44 victory over second-seeded Middle Township in the South Jersey Group 2 semfinals.
Cain, a Willingboro resident, scored 26 points as the third-seeded Jaguars advanced to Monday night's South Jersey Group 2 title game against fourth-seeded Sterling.
"Eli played a beautiful game," Medford Tech coach Nick Powell said. "He brought us home."
Powell said the performance was Cain's best of the season, given the stakes, the level of competition and the atmosphere in the sold-out gymnasium.
Cain played on the freshmen team at Paul VI. He transferred to Medford Tech and has gradually developed into one of the best players in South Jersey.
Cain, a rangy point guard, has drawn recruiting interest from St. Joseph's, Villanova and Rutgers, among other programs. He is averaging 20.6 points.
Cain has led Medford Tech to the second sectional final in the history of the program. Monday night's title game might be the biggest home sporting event in school history.
"We've kind of hard a rough season," Cain of the 18-10 Jaguars. "We've been inconsistent. But now we're right where we want to be."
Contact Phil Anastasia at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter @PhilAnastasia